Signed to the taste-making imprint Dead Oceans and touted with much enthusiasm by the Mountain Goats John Darnielle, the North Carolina trio Bowerbirds recently answered those early acts of faith with a striking second album, Upper Air. Much in the vein of its sleeper 2007 debut, Hymns for a Dark Horse, the new outing is a pristine collection of drowsy, shadowy folk-pop, lovingly delivered and exquisitely worded. Songwriter Phil Moores singing voice is nearly identical to that of the Rosebuds Ivan Howard, which makes some sense since both bands hail from Raleigh. Comparisons end there, however. Completed by accordionist Beth Tacular and pianist/violinist Mark Paulson, who share stripped-down percussion duties, Bowerbirds sound familiar, but not quite like any other band. Even when the songs are draped in stately layers, there is a fragile serenity and acute closeness that makes feel as if theyre right there, snuggled up against us. With Megafaun.